Energy issues took center stage this summer. Record gasoline prices drove the U.S. presidential campaign to focus on energy policy issues, especially offshore drilling. Investor T. Boone Pickens and former Vice President Al Gore initiated massive marketing campaigns to promote their energy plans. Even socialite Paris Hilton got into the act, responding to a John McCain ad with her own spoof video—which presented her surprisingly cogent solutions to the energy crisis.
To get a reality check, we sought out Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank focuses on the interplay between energy policy and national security.
Fortnightly: Politicians frequently talk about achieving energy independence, but arguably this idea is a pipedream—and maybe not desirable anyway. What’s your perspective on energy independence?
Luft: It depends on how you define energy independence. Some people view it as autarky, not importing anything from anybody. That’s not our definition. Energy independence means not having to kowtow to countries that control our energy supply.